Please account for the role of progress in developments of science and technology in the nineteenth century
Progress in Development of Science and Technology
The Role of Progress in Development of Science and Technology in the 19th Century
Human life has undergone major transformation over the past years owing to the steady advancement of science and technology. Today, human life depends on several aspects of science and technology for survival. Most of the things that man cannot do without are facilitated and sustained by scientific processes that were never present in the ancient world. Medical discoveries for example have facilitated the cure of diseases that were not curable before. Things like tissue transplant have added another dimension to the way medical practices have evolved as a result of application of knowledge that philosophers have been pursuing for many years. Modern science can be traced back to the ancient Greek era when philosophers embarked on the pursuit of knowledge on matters affecting human life. Later in history, the same knowledge would be passed from generation to another and some modifications added to it. This is what has defined modern history to date and is the blueprint for future philosophies (Ede & Cormack, 2012).
In their book titled “A History of Science in Society”, Ede and Comarck argue that since inception, the philosophical pursuit of knowledge is not enough and should be complimented with a deep rooted desire to apply the knowledge gained so as to give it meaning and demonstrate its usefulness. This argument is based on the fact that progress in technology and science keeps on evolving with time and the way human life is also affected changes in tandem with the advancements. With the rise of agriculture and the development of Urban Civilization, the types of knowledge were diversified and new skill created”, Ede and Comarck further argue adding that this trend is what gave rise to modern science that dictates the way things are done today and the reason they are done that way (Ede & Cormack, 2012).
The role of progress in the application of science and technological knowledge has been central to the betterment of human life over the better part of the 19th century and will continue to do so in the foreseeable future. Science has changed how we view the universe, how we interact with one another and how we decide the modes of living we intend to adopt. It has given the meaning of being human another different dimension. There are several statements and demonstrations that point out to this argument.
Accounting for the Role of Progress
Several aspects of human life have undergone transformation whose roots can be traced back to the early 18th century and though many years have gone till now, the progress that necessitated such inventions remains relevant (Csikszentmihalyi, 2014). For instance Plato advocated for an enhancement of geometry. The same knowledge could later be applied by Eratosthenes to measure the diameter of the earth. Such progress is acknowledged by Ede and Comarck who argue that progress in science and technology served well in turning such scientific works into consumer goods. They allude to the Cathode Ray Tube as one of those goods still applicable today but whose invention came as a result of the progress witnessed in the pursuit of knowledge. The Cathode Ray Tube was initially applied in the study of the particulate nature of matter but it ended up in the modern day television.
Human life in the ancient world was mainly sustained by economic activities such as farming. Initially, farming was carried out in small-scale in a simple way that required little input regarding labour. But with time, there was witnessed steady change in the way this art was being carried out. An expansion in agricultural production forced the framers to seek other skills like accounting and record keeping. On the other hand, progress in the art of agriculture also interfered with other social and religious activities such as the days of worship. The result was the invention of the Calendar so as to provide a schedule that would be followed by the people in attending to both functions. (p 2)
The modern day transport systems originated from the ancient world. During those days, the means of transport were mainly based on simple knowledge and although they served the intended purpose well, several modifications would be done later and that is what gave rise to the modern-day transport systems. A good example is a boat whose use gave rise to navigation. Through frequent sailing and mastering the route, the pilot noticed that there was an aspect of going round the waters and then back. Today, navigation is the key driving force behind air and water transport. The subsequent advancements in technologies have made the art of sailing and flying a better experience although the large populations that depend on these tools are vulnerable to calamities such as air crashes (Csikszentmihalyi, 2014).
The development of arithmetic was a breakthrough in solving problems such as accounting and calculations. However, there was dire need for other methods of solving complex problems. Arithmetic had moved from just being a tool for simple calculations such as addition and subtraction to a more complex matter whose importance to human life could not be ignored. Philosophers in their attempt to apply the knowledge acquired so as to make meaning started expanding the subject by introduction of new methods. The Pythagoreans Theorem was developed to assist in surveying and construction.(p 10).The Pythagoreans argued that all nature could be represented by proportions and ratios that could be rounded off to whole number figures to suit calculations I figures such as squares(p 10)
Another aspect of human life that was put under perspective by ancient philosophers in the 19th Century was changed. The phenomena of change had to be explained so as to bring an understanding of the whole subject of human existence and the various modes of living exhibited by man. Heraclitus of Ephesus and Parmenides of Elea addressed this subject though differently. The former argued that nature was in a constant state of flux while the latter argued that change was a mere illusion. The contrasting assertions could later give rise to other relate d studies and research that have dominated the field of science to date. Parmenides based his argument on the fact that for change to occur, there must be an element of being to become non-being. It was logically impossible for nothing to contain something (Ede & Cormack, 2012).
In an attempt to understand the structure of the material world, philosophers such as Socrates argue that human beings possess immense knowledge within themselves which can be harnessed to get an understanding of how various things work. This is the basis for the modern day teaching in schools whereby the teacher puts forth the information to the learner and accompanies it with questions to establish to what extent the learner has understood the topic. The same way, modern technology came as a result of questioning certain phenomenon with the need to know how and why they behave the way they do.
Aristotle in a mission to explain the way knowledge can be applied in changing the way of living in the society based his argument on two fundamental ideas. One of them was a system that could be applied to provide a complete comprehension of natural objects. This was an elaboration of the previous philosophies of people such as Plato’s. The second was based on the need to verify knowledge by describing natural objects through identification and classification. These were the fundamental steps upon which Aristotle based his other inventions such as classification of animals.(P 16) He mainly ventured into Biological philosophy and from his simple beginning, he went on to define the core aspects of the human body. His works remain a key area of reference for teaching at all levels of education.
Much of the modern day Science and technology are as a result of the progress achieved by philosophers way back in the 19th century (Ede & Cormack, 2012). Scientific discoveries and innovations have defined the modern way of living and thus the role of science and technology in the world cannot be overlooked under any circumstances whatsoever. Progress in these vital fields keeps evolving from time to time but its presence and influence on human life remains. The extent to which human life is shaped by science and technology can only grow bigger each passing day.
Csikszentmihalyi, M. (2014). Society, culture, and person: A systems view of creativity (pp. 47-61). Springer Netherlands.
Ede, A., & Cormack, L. B. (2012). A History of science in society: From philosophy to utility. University of Toronto Press.